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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Today At The Deli ...

Why won't my lunch meat last?

I'm really into being frugal these days and taking my lunch to work is so much less expensive then take out each day. But at the rate my cold cuts expire, I could sit down at a three-star bistro each day and still save some green.

I don't think it's my choice of shopping venue ... it happens no matter where or what day I grocery shop. Supermarket deli fare never lasts more than 3 days ... filmy, my ham looks like fake skin in a high school play prop room. It's revolting. Some people swear by those prepackaged brands that come in little storage containers ... kind of mini-Tupperware, but I like my lunch meat sliced thick and that type is so shaved it should be sold by the ream, not the pound.

My favorite deli ... a magical gourmet shoppe where asparagus quiche, beef salad, individual ham loaves, mac 'n' cheese casserole, five kinds of cheesecake made daily, and chicken salad with two types of grapes and almond slivers overflow ... should be able to "meat" my needs, but their cold cuts suck. They have "mesquite turkey," "garlic pastrami," and other more-exotic sandwich stuffers, but I swear it spoils before my bags reach my car. It's gotten so bad that when I do try something I buy four or six thick slices ... enough for two or three sandwiches, and I make sure I make the first one the minute I get home.

I've even stooped to buying lunch meat from a nearby gas station that has a small deli counter ... the employees are clearly on parole and the selection is dismal, but the two things I buy regularly have the staying power of Energizer lithium batteries ... bologna and Dutch loaf.

Ah, bologna and Dutch loaf ... two childhood friends. I swear my parents had stock in lunch meat futures because we always had tons of those two "slickmeats" in our crisper drawer. And bologna in our house meant white bread and two carefully-created swirls of spicy mustard, while Dutch loaf demanded a bit more refinement with an artful dollop of Miracle Whip and toasted slices of wheat. If my Dad was in a "fancy" mood, he'd share some of his sliced corn beef. It was very square, very fatty on the edges, and tasted like it must have been shipped straight from Heaven!

We ate a lot of turkey and ham sandwiches, believe me, but my Mom cooked a whole damn or turkey for an evening meal or Sunday lunch and we gnawed on the carcuss for days like starving hyenas.

Come to think about it, other foodstuffs turn on me at an unnatural rate ... milk, bananas, and lettuce. Fresh broccoli sometimes wilts when I turn my back. A loaf of rye from the freezer goes from frozen to moldy without passing "GO." And you'd think that when I buy a half-gallon of milk, the carton would have the words "Before You Actually Get Home" printed where the expiration date usually resides.

POINT OF RANT: Shut up and buy soup for lunch!

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